OUR WAY. ALL THE WAY. - DIRECTOR'S CONCEPT
A Common Future
BAYERN - Sometimes it feels like the club is more myth than an actual football team. Which other world-stage team has its heritage and regional roots written right into its name like that?
I grew up in the middle of it, on a lake overshadowed by the Alps. Bayern insignia all around, both the regional white and blue and the synonimous football club's white and red. I lived in Munich for seven years in the middle of Glockenbachviertel, the traditional gay quarter and now home to my best friends' skateshop and bar. It felt bustling, modern and open-minded. Only after moving out of Bavaria and into the world did I begin to experience the 'outside perspective'. Bayern is an iconic place, its folklore, its nature, its football club, they all shine so strongly that the complexity and variance can get lost underneath it.
But there is power in this! Instead of always working to dispute prejudice, tradition can be a source of pride and community. We want to distill into our film what the third Bayern jersey does so beautifully: turn the very thing that is supposed to make you oldschool into your progressive emblem.
Modern society is complex and impossible to pin down into one standardized shape. We want to echo this idea in our film. Uniting a modern visual aesthetic with a variety of topics and perspectives, working with collage and frame-in-frame techniques that originated in Japanese animes and have come to form an integral part of modern urban music video aesthetic.
Thanks for the chance to revisit my home and look at it differently. It's exciting to say the least!
Simon of A Common Future
We want to create a film that turns the idea of stereotype on its head. To playfully counteract and rise above all the prefabricated opinions others have about the 'Bayern'. To do this we want to capture a narrative of stereotypes that people had or have about Bayern and counteract them at the same time. For example, we get a quote from Manuel Neuer about his biggest stereotype he had about Bayrisch people before he came to Munich and how that has changed. Maybe Manuel says: "I heard that it's impossible to make friends in Bayern, because they're super close minded." And while he's saying this we show pictures of Neuer and team celebrating emotionally as they win the Champions League, cut to a shot of the Südkurve and a big banner: Love Has No Gender. Cut to a shot from our photoshoot set of an oldschool fanclub home with two young women in Bayern colours lounging on the bench. Cut to a shot of Manuel and Thomas Müller, with arms over their shoulder, grinning into the camera.
We can turn this mechanic on its head for a cool twist in the next scene. Serge Gnabry says: "I heard that everything's super perfect and pretty. And man... you know what?! It is! But how is that a bad thing?! I don't think people realize how awesome that is." We cut to images of breathtaking Bavarian scenery, a lone figure stands in a little boat floating in the middle of a mountain lake with a sheer mountain cliff face rising right out of it into the heavens.
With twists and playful turnabrounds like these we want to show how tradition and appreciation for your roots can turn into something forward thinking and welcoming - even if the roots don't fit to the modern urban streets cliché...
A main visual stereotype and trope that we want to work WITH instead of AGAINST is the actual visual motive of the jersey: Munich's stunning natural environment. Looking at other modern cultural content, like fashion and music videos, it's quite obvious: these clips play to the strengths of a gritty urban environment. Trying to make Bayern all ghetto and rough feels like a disguise. Instead, why don't we proudly show off the incredible surrounding?! Meaning: to place models and locations in the actual Bavarian beauty instead of trying to replicate grimey UK backalleys. Also, vice versa, to exhibit the same person in the metropolitan urban context of Munich - going from a mountain lake to a skatepark. And to turn that cultural contrast into a motive instead of working around it.
Using visual techniques that echo progressive modern cultural content and turning it into our very own Bayern interpretation is the essence of MIA SAN MIA. Impressive mountain cliffs instead of concrete blocks, avantgarde updates to folkloric Bavarian dress instead of modern standard couture, Brez'n and a Mass instead of Oysters and Cristal, the list goes on. Let's go into detail:
THE VISUAL CONCEPT
Of course, these are only rough drafts of how our content could feel when translated into these modern aesthetics. But the potential here is endless! Transitioning from one space or topic into the other, bringing the different faces of Bayern together, ancient country and hypermodern city, tradition and progression, old and new faces.
There are other techniques apart from the frame-in-frame and collage cutting, like modern morph and glitch algorithms, which we wouldn't want to use so prominently as they have been used in music videos, but more subtly as a technique for quick fluid transitions that tie our subjects more closely together than a standard hard cut.
The roughness is part of the design here. It should feel, to some extent, DIY and handmade, otherwise we would risk a feeling of artificiality. Also, the perfection can be reserved for our video material shot in the surrounding mountains, urban Munich and with our players.
What we love especially in this technique is the opportunity to 'sneak in' references that create a different layer of experience for different people, without calling too much attention to it. For example, in the rough draft above, the black and white old man's face cut into the collage of Manuel Neuer, Kathleen Krüger and Serge Gnabry, will be read by most viewers as the prototypical old Bavarian. But those familiar with Bavarian culture will recognize Karl Valentin, who in his time was a visionary social critic and an emblem for the typical Bavarian humour of seeing your own shortcomings without taking yourself too seriously.
I would love to have a camera there when our players are being photographed in the fanclub setting. I would like to use 'my' time with the players mainly for a greenscreen setting with alternating light setups so we can compose our players into different shots in the edit later. I can see them throwing poses in the new jersey and constructing visual comments to the stereotypes, like an image of players together to answer to the stereotype that 'you can't find friends in Bayern.' Additionally
Additionally I would like to use no more than 5 mins for the stereotype question, which of course we would clear up with the players beforehand. On the day I would like to have them in a totally normal, unstaged conversation setting, just me asking them the question: What was your biggest stereotype about Bayern before you came here, and what's your opinion about it now? This would mainly be for the audio recording. The camera could be around Behind-The-Scenes style, picking it up as an authentic moment, but not intruding and distracting the players.
Real people, real 'Bayern' with a real story. We want to find actual Bavarians who don't read as your typical Bavarian in the first place but turn out to be deeply rooted in the local culture and their football club. Think a girl with a Bayern tattoo on her arm. A skater who is also a hardcore Südkurve fan. We want to bring these people into settings like the 'Walchensee' mountain lake and spend a day with them in the impressive alpine and Bavarian environment, visually contrasting their characters to the surrounding but showing their connection at the same time. Similarly, we switch back and show the same girl, who was just in the snow on a mountaintop, doing a kickflip in the Munich skatepark. The faces below are all Munich based. It would be awesome to consider a streetcasting process among actual Bayern fans to make the connection even more authentic.
A Common Future is a collective founded by artist and editor Simon Reichel and director of photography Tom Elliott. Working in a wide range of modern culture, sports, music, fashion, they have collaborated with clients and talent such as Reebok and NFL football icon JJ Watt, Google, Audemars Piguet, ASICS, german rap sensation RIN and created their own documentarian projects such as the winter sports documentary 'Contraddiction' that has toured cinemas internationally and was awarded 'Best of the Month' on Vimeo.
Simon has edited most of ACF's work and was awarded the Gold Medal award for Editing at Ciclope festival for the musical documentary 'Band of Five' for Converse. He has experimented widely with media and integrated video effects, expanding his knowledge into After Effects and 3D editing platform Cinema 4D, meaning he can integrate video effects at offline edit stage, eliminating the tedious back and forth process for cuts like the above example of image collages, etc.
ACF's favourite pick for cinematography is young polymath talent Ferdinand Feldmann, who has extensive experience shooting modern visual aesthetics in fashion and lifestyle. He has collaborated with Simon before on their short documentary 'Mana Bella' which was featured on National Geographic. He is experienced with a variety of formats and media, making him the ideal pick for a modern and flexible shooting approach.
A Common Future
A Common Future
A Common Future